Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning is like a giant invisible elephant, a learner is like a blind needing to work together.

I was seven years old when I first saw a REAL computer. That was a black-and-white monitor with huge body. It was the only computer of my school so it was kept at a “sacred place”, where only one teacher can access. That night, I was imagining what I can do with computer. One of the fascinating expectations I got was that it could serve as a Mr. Know-it-all; whenever I type something I want to ask, the machine would give me the answer. It was wrong! The reality was different. To get the answer A, I should program to get the answer A, which means I should know the answer before I get the answer and it’s not what I was expecting.
How about the computers and various web tools now? Do you still need to know the answer to get your answer? No! You just type your question and you get it. I, now, have three computers including my smartphone, where have nearly all answers I might be curious about. How thrilling! Computers nowadays are Mr. Know-it-all practically. How about the learners today? Unfortunately, they learn almost same theory and knowledge in a slight different way – using more graphics and other tools. Since the intuition learners have is fundamentally different, education and learning theory should be approached the fundamentally different way.
George Siemens, in his note at You Tube (The Conflict of Learning Theories with Human Nature), mentions the way we externalize our thought is fundamentally different in that the core of learning in the previous generations focused on mainly language while we, now, see the connection and network as a primary way to externalize thoughts. Learners today live in the knowledge-based society where new information is continually being acquired and the capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known. George Siemens said that sometimes the pipe is more important than the content within the pipe: Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. In today’s world, a learner is like a producer-consumer in a market because every learner acquires knowledge on certain areas through information technology and they make contribution to help others find out or get the answer they are searching through the technology. Therefore, teachers and educators must ask themselves this question constantly: am I dealing with it enough HOW to gain knowledge outside their organizations as well as WHAT to know from the textbooks?


  1. It certainly is thrilling that we can ask any question and find the answer on the Internet. Of course we need to check the validity of the source, but the answers are out there in cyberspace somewhere!

  2. Yes, a learner alone can not even dream to find out what an elephant looks like. That's why constant learners should be get connected.